The so-called Big Three automakers reported March sales that were weaker than expected. The declines for Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler happened as consumers bought fewer sedans and more SUVs. Total vehicle sales rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.63 million. That was short of the forecast for 17.30 million..
Here's the scoreboard:
Nissan: 3% (2.8% expected)
Ford: -7.2% (-5.9% expected)
GM: 1.6% (7% expected)
Fiat Chrysler: -5% (0.4% expected)
Toyota: -2.1% (-1.2% expected)
Automakers shares slid in trading following the numbers. Ford fell by as much as 2%, while GM dropped 3%. The data on sales come as more Americans struggle to pay their car loans. The 60+ day delinquency rate for subprime auto loans is at the highest in at least seven years.
Auto sales were driven to new highs partly because of the availability of cheap credit and incentives from automakers. After rising to a record high for a seventh straight year in 2016, the car market may have peaked for now. That's intensifying competition for the remaining loan supply and driving up the credit risk for lenders. Tesla, which operates on its own calendar, reported record deliveries of its electric cars in the first quarter. Deliveries jumped 69% to 25,000, rebounding after delays in the previous quarter, the company said on Sunday.